Volumes are down on rails for week ending December 8, reports AAR
Carload volume—at 292,206—was down 1.6 percent annually, and intermodal—at 240,098 trailers and containers—were down 0.3 percent.
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Railroad volumes were down for the week ending December 8 the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week.
Carload volume—at 292,206—was down 1.6 percent annually and below the week ending December 1 at 305,708 and ahead of the week ending November 24 at 252,931.
Eastern carload volumes were down 0.5 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 2.4 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 240,098 trailers and containers—were down 0.3 percent compared to the same week a year ago and slightly below the 241,411 recorded from the week of December 1. It was ahead of the week ending November 24 at 194,538.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 12 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 63.6 percent, and farm products excluding grain were up 24.8 percent.
Metallic ores were down 24.7 percent, and grain was down 16.7 percent.
Carloads for the first 49 weeks of 2012—at 13,888,035—were down 3.0 percent compared to the first 49 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.2 percent at 11,619,432 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending December 8 were down 1.7 percent at 34.1 billion, and were down 2.3 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,600.5 billion.
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Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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